I was today years old when I learned about High Agency vs. Low Agency.
People with High Agency feel a sense of control over their lives, and they can make decisions about what they want or need and act to meet those needs.
On the other hand, people with Low Agency may feel like something outside their control, such as luck or fate, is shaping their path.
San Diego State's Lamont Butler hit an absolutely stunning Final Four buzzer-beater.
And the NCAA color commentator said: "Wow, that is some High Agency right there!"
So I had to Google High Agency.
People with low agency experience common impediments when trying to make sound decisions. They tend to procrastinate, obsess over details, or worry excessively during the process; they may lack confidence and be risk-adverse; or their thinking may be too fast and they act on impulse.
Ah, but what is the difference between high agency and high communion?
Agency-oriented individuals experience fulfillment through their individual accomplishments and their sense of independence and separateness, whereas communion-oriented individuals experience fulfilment through their relationships with others and their sense of belonging.
Like, when you are on a TEAM.
San Diego State junior guard Lamont Butler willed his team to the 2023 men's NCAA tournament championship game with one of the best buzzer-beaters you will ever see. I had flashbacks to when Kris Jenkins hit a buzzer-beater that gave Villanova a National Title in 2016.
I went down the Google Rabbit Hole this morning. The four agency themes are self-mastery, status/victory, achievement/responsibility, and empowerment. The four communion themes are love/friendship, dialogue, caring/help, unity/togetherness.
Google: NCAA Buzzer Beaters. There are 129 (so far).
And so: in basketball and other such timed sports, a buzzer-beater is a shot that is taken before the game clock of a quarter, a half, or an overtime period expires - but does not go in the basket until after the clock expires and the buzzer sounds - hence the name "buzzer-beater."
OK, land the plane Tom...
A "buzzer beater" might be the highest form of AGENCY. But - there can be no buzzer-beaters without the team - without the highest form of COMMUNION.
The coach of San Diego State said after the game: "All I said was get the ball to Lamont."
That game went back and forth, back and forth. Either team could win. There was very HIGH COMMUNION on both sides, for more than 59 minutes.
And with just seconds left in the game, the San Diego State Head Coach says. "I'm out of plays, I have no play. Get the ball to Lamont."
All of us dream of hitting the game wining home run in the World Series. Scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. Hitting the buzzer-beater to win the game. In sports and in business, we all want to feel that thrill of High Agency.
But we all must remember, in sports and in business - there can be no agency without communion.
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